Talk Media News

Victoria Jones created and edits Quick Morning News. She is chief White House correspondent with Washington DC-based Talk Media News, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.

Quick News

  • Republicans: South Carolina t-romp
  • Democrats: Nevada squeaker
  • 5 takeaways: South Carolina, Nevada
  • Candidates’ Corner
  • Trump on Iraq War: Confuuusing
  • Kalamazoo shootings
  • SCOTUS: 8 to hear arguments today
  • Senators: Scalia on agenda
Republicans: South Carolina T-romp (AP, AP, me)
• Donald Trump staved off mainstream party rivals in South Carolina as well as Iowa winner Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas) with a resounding victory to advance a high-flying campaign that seemed improbable from the start, but no longer. “Let’s put this thing away,” he told cheering supporters. Sunday, he declared: “I’m going to win.” (party elite panic)
• Sen Marco Rubio (R-Fla) squeaked into second place ahead of Cruz. With that edge, it’s becoming clearer that Rubio is the mainstream hope of party leaders who have been freaked out for months about the rise of Trump. “You can’t just tell people you’re going to make America great again,” Rubio said on CBS on Sunday – adding that he wasn’t going after Trump (noooo)
• Cruz fell short despite a sophisticated get-out-the-vote operation and a conservative electorate with many evangelicals. Former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla), once a presumed favorite for the nomination, bowed to reality and left the race. (buh bye) Bush had become a fierce critic of Trump, but he found his voice too late (dumping his glasses didn’t help him, nor did mummy)
• The GOPers fanned out Sunday to Nevada, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia and beyond as the race spreads out and speeds up. Nevada’s caucuses are Tuesday, and then a dozen states vote in the 1 March Super Tuesday bonanza

• Interactive: Where will the Bush voters go now? (NYT)


Democrats: Nevada Squeaker (AP, AP, me)
• Hillary Clinton narrowly beat Bernie Sanders in Nevada – a state once seen as a sure bet for her. She prevailed on the strength of her experience and her appeal to minorities, women, voters 45 and older, wealthier people and moderates, according to caucus site entrance surveys. There’s still a – nasty – dispute about who won with Hispanic voters
• In a continuing sign of Clinton’s vulnerability, Sanders did best with voters looking for a candidate who is caring and honest. The socialist senator scored strongly with men, voters who are less affluent and educated and people under 45 – exposing the age gap also see in earlier contests
• Sunday on CNN, Clinton acknowledged she has work to do. “I think there’s an underlying question that maybe is really in the back of people’s minds and that is, you know, is she in it for us or is she in it for herself? I think that is a question that people are trying to sort through.”  (she needs to answer it – and she needs to be vulnerable, emotional and honest)
• Sanders has the money and excitement to carry him on but an extra hurdle to overcome – Clinton’s big delegate lead with Democratic party insiders who can choose a candidate regardless of who wins primaries and caucuses. “At the end of the day … you need delegates,” he acknowledged

• Watch: Fox News anchor Chris Wallace (rightly) calls out Hillary Clinton for avoiding Fox News Sunday


South Carolina, Nevada: 5 Takeaways (NYT, Politico, me)
Trump gains momentum: Donald Trump came into South Carolina and attacked popular George W. Bush and picked fights with well-liked Gov Nikki Haley. Exit polls showed late deciders were likely to go for other candidates. It didn’t matter. Nothing short of a broad onslaught is likely to derail him now
Marco’s moment – again? Marco Rubio stopped being a robot. He talked a lot about his faith, sweated. He attacked Trump: “Zero foreign policy experience.” He won a narrow second-place finish over Ted Cruz. But he doesn’t have much time – if Trump can’t be slowed by the 1 March primaries, all of Rubio’s cleverness might have been for naught
Kasich & Carson – spoilers: Straggler John Kasich (fifth) won a little less than 8%, and almost certainly drew support away from Rubio and Jeb Bush. Rubio’s campaign is already rumbling about Kasich leaving. Carson pulled about 7% – likely from Cruz-types. Carson has vowed to press on, just as Cruz prepares to compete across Bible Belt states on 1 March
Black Democrats: abandoned Hillary Clinton in droves in 2008 as they embraced Barack Obama. Saturday in Nevada, Clinton won 76% of African-American voters, compared with 22% for Bernie Sanders. No other result from Nevada bodes better for Clinton as she heads to South Carolina for its primary next Saturday – and then the South on Super Tuesday
Risks for Bernie: Bernie Sanders hasn’t changed his stump speech about America’s “corrupt” economic and political system since April. He faced a challenge with black and Hispanic voters in Nevada and didn’t change his speech much. And he lost. He’s campaigning part-time in South Carolina where more than half the Dems are black – and not changing his message – risky?


Candidates’ Corner (Hill, Hill, Politico, Politico, me)
• Ted Cruz on CNN on Sunday said Donald Trump’s record is “the same” as Hillary Clinton’s. “I think if we nominate a candidate who has the same record as Hillary Clinton on partial birth abortion, the same record as Hillary Clinton on Obamacare and socialized medicine … I don’t think that’s a path to victory,” Cruz said (lots more alleged examples given)
• Saturday, Trump retweeted a tweet from a right wing fringe website that suggested that Marco Rubio isn’t a citizen and isn’t eligible to run for president. Trump played dumb on ABC on Sunday when pressed about it, as though just retweeting it relieved him of all responsibility, rather than actually throwing the bomb – he’s a passive aggressive backbiter
• Marco Rubio hammered Trump on ABC on Sunday. “I don’t believe that he has exhibited an understanding of foreign policy, which is the most important job of the commander in chief. And to say I’m just going to surround myself with really smart people, you know, that’s not enough.” (Rubio is a first-termer – not sure of his foreign policy experience, either)
• There’s a big dispute going on about who won the Democratic Hispanic vote in Nevada. The Sanders campaign put out a statement saying he had “won among Latino voters by 8 points.” Nick Merrill, Clinton’s traveling spox, tweeted: “I don’t typically like to swear on Twitter, but by all accounts so far this is complete and utter bull$hit.”
• Sanders said on NBC on Sunday that “We will do well when young people, when working-class people come out” to vote. He added: “We did not do as good a job as I had wanted to bring out a large turnout.”


• Republican party officials in Nevada and Washington fear a repeat of the 2012 debacle in the Tuesday Nevada caucuses in which it took officials days to count just 33,000 ballots. Combo of a disorganized and underfunded state GOP, decentralized responsibility for reporting results and an electorate that’s never seen a competitive presidential caucus… (WSJ)
Trump on Iraq War: Confuuusing (NYT, me)
• On NBC on Sunday, Chuck Todd pressed Donald Trump about saying to Howard Stern in 2002, “Yes, I guess so,” when asked if he supported an invasion of Iraq. Trump had then added: “You know, I wish it was – I wish the first time it was done correctly.” Todd pressed him on what the second point meant (stand by)
• “Well, what I mean by that,” Trump said, “is it almost shouldn’t have been done and, you know, I really don’t even know what I mean, because that was a long time ago and who knows what was in my head? I think that it wasn’t done correctly.” (who knows what is ever in his head?” Then – a different thought:
• “In retrospect, it shouldn’t have been done at all. It was sort of, you know, it was just done. It was just – we dropped bombs. Now, if you look back, actually, that was probably the correct way of doing it, not going in and not upsetting, giving them a lesson or not.” (shouldn’t have – was correct – giving them a lesson – or not = 4 things – I just passed out from brain hemorrhage)
• In the Persian Gulf War, Trump said, George H.W. Bush “taught them a lesson,” adding, “What happened is he was taunted, because Saddam Hussein was saying we drove back the Americans, the ugly Americans were driven back, the power of Iraq, the power.” (so Trump seems to admire teaching “a lesson” as foreign policy)
• He continued: “Well, we didn’t – weren’t driven back, he just decided not – General Schwarzkopf and others said, maybe let’s not go in, I’m not sure – although I think Schwarzkopf actually maybe wanted to go in. I think he made – maybe did the right thing.” (total confusion – maybe let’s not – although I think – actually maybe – I think he made – maybe did – WTFthe bloody?)


• London’s flamboyant, conservative and ambitious mayor Boris Johnson has thrown his weight behind the campaign to leave the EU, dealing a blow to PM David Cameron by increasing the chance British voters will ditch membership in a 23 June referendum. Cameron will make a statement to MPs today on last week’s European deal struck on Friday (Guardian, Reuters, me)


Kalamazoo Shootings (NYT, AP, Fox, me)
• Jason Dalton, a 45-year-old new Uber driver who seemed to choose his victims at random, opened fire outside an apartment complex, a car dealership and a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Kalamazoo Mich, killing six people in a rampage that lasted nearly seven hours Saturday night, police said. He had no criminal record – unknown motive
• “How do you go and tell the families of these victims that they weren’t targeted for any reason other than they were there to be a target?” Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting said Sunday at an emotional presser. Dalton, who was arrested in Kalamazoo following a massive manhunt, was expected to be arraigned today on murder charges
• Investigators were looking into reports that Dalton was ferrying passengers before the attacks began and perhaps even in between some of the shootings. One customer said Dalton took him on a harrowing ride around 4:30 pm, less than two hours before the shootings. One passenger said Dalton told her he was new for Uber and had quickly picked up bad marks
• An Uber official said Dalton had passed a company background check. One passenger, Matt Mellon, said a man who appeared to be Dalton picked him up late Saturday afternoon and “he wouldn’t stop. He just kind of kept looking at me like, ‘don’t you want to get to your friend’s house?’ and I’m like ‘I want to get there alive.'”
• Sally Pardo, a retired nurse who lived across the street from Dalton, said she thought of him as a “nice guy,” but he sometimes sounded a little paranoid and “he periodically shot his gun out the back door. He would shoot randomly into the air.” A semi-automatic gun was found in Dalton’s car
• In one of the most exhaustive and damning reports on diversity in Hollywood a study released today from USC finds that films and TV produced by major media companies are “whitewashed.” In the 414 studied films and series, only a third of speaking characters were female and only 28.3% were from minority groups. Directors were 87% white (AP)


SCOTUS: 8 to Hear Arguments Today (Reuters, NYT, BBC, me)
• The eight remaining members of the Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases today, their first action since Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, died 13 Feb at a Texas hunting resort. Scalia was a conservative known for posing tough questions to lawyers and for provoking laughter with his observations during oral arguments
• His death left the court with four conservatives and four liberals and triggered a furious fight between President Obama, set to name Scalia’s successor, and Senate Republicans who have vowed to block any nominee from the Democratic president, with the court’s balance of power at stake
• Court observers said Scalia could have represented the deciding vote in one of the two cases to be argued today. With his absence, the court could end up splitting 4-4, meaning the lower court ruling would stand and no nationwide precedent would be set. The court could also order the case to be re-argued after the Senate confirms Scalia’s replacement
• The case: An appeal filed by Utah officials of a ruling by the state’s top court in favor of Edward Strieff, who was convicted on drug charges. The state Supreme Court ruled that evidence presented by prosecutors was inadmissible because it violated his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures – Fourth Amendment. Scalia has recently backed police
• Saturday, a funeral Mass was held in Washington for Scalia. Thousands attended the solemn service. Justices, judges, lawmakers, current and former VPs and a presidential candidate attended. Rev Paul Scalia, one of Scalia’s nine children, led the Mass. Scalia’s coffin had on Friday lain in the Supreme Court, with President Obama among the thousands paying respects
Senators: Scalia on Agenda (NYT, me)
• Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) will take to the Senate floor this afternoon to chastise Republicans for using the battle over the nomination of a successor to Justice Antonin Scalia to delegitimize President Obama and  undermine the govt’s basic system of checks and balances. Other Democrats expect to deliver similar remarks in various venues this week
• Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said shortly after Scalia’s death on 13 Feb that Obama shouldn’t bring a replacement nominee to Capitol Hill, but today he’s expected to contain his remarks to tributes. Sen Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Judiciary Committee chair, is expected to meet with committee Republicans on Tuesday, with McConnell presiding
• The question of whether to deny a hearing to any nominee is clearly making some Republicans uncomfortable. Sen Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told reporters last week, “I do believe that the nominee should get a hearing,” but a day later, she tweeted that Obama should “allow his successor to select the next Supreme Court justice.”
• And there’s pressure on Republican incumbents in swing states this election year, like Iowa, Ohio and New Hampshire, to act. Democrats said public support would be on their side, but recent polls, including one by CBS News last week, show 47% percent of Americans say Obama should make the pick and 46% say he shouldn’t

• Listen: What’s the mysterious shrieking noise that’s terrifying and bafflng residents and pets of the small town of Forest Grove, Oregon, in the middle of the night? Nobody knows…

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Victoria Jones – Editor